Accidents and Fatalities

Aug. 06, 1970: A bizarre occurence takes place at Disneyland when 750 "Hippies" and "Radical Yippies" infiltrate the park, and take over the Wilderness Fort. They raise the Vietcong flag and pass reefers out to passersbys.

Later, they march in a Main Street parade, and sing their own lyrics to "Zipadee Doo Dah" ("Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Mihn is going to win..."). More conservative park guests try to drown them out by singing "America the Beautiful." Before the confrontation can heat up, a platoon of Anaheim Police officers in full riot gear pour into the park from backstage areas! A riot is adverted and Disneyland vice president of Operations Dick Nunis orders the park closed at 7:10 PM. For many years afterward Disneyland will selectively enforced a "dress code" at the park, occasionally refusing admission to "long-haired hippies".  (This unusual incident is the only time an outside security force has ever made a full-blown public appearance at the park.)

Aug. 22, 1989: A 29-year-old jogger was seriously injured on Walt Disney World property when he ran in front of a truck.

Feb. 8, 1990: A worker was killed at Disney Hollywood Studios when he fell 33 feet to his death from a scaffold while working on an air-conditioning duct.

Feb. 8, 1990: In an unrelated accident, three tourists were injured when three sets of cars in the Space Mountain roller coaster at Walt Disney World’s Disney World Magic Kingdom abruptly stopped because the computer detected a faulty wheel and automatically halted the system.

Feb. 6, 1990: Five tourists suffered minor injuries when pieces of molding fell from the ceiling of the Haunted Mansion attraction at Walt Disney World’s Disney World Magic Kingdom.

Aug. 18, 1994: A 6-year-old girl was badly injured when she became pinned between a boat and boarding dock at the It’s a Small World ride at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The girl suffered collapsed lungs, a broken rib and a broken arm.

Dec. 31, 1999: Six people were burned when fireworks at Disney World’s New Year’s Eve festivities exploded near them.

July 21, 2003 An unfortunate accident occurs at Disney World's Animal Kingdom when a giraffe is struck and killed by lightning.

June 13, 2005: A 4-year-old boy died of a heart attack after riding the Mission: Space ride at Epcot.

July 19, 2005: A tragedy is averted when famed sports agent Drew Rosenhaus performs life-saving CPR on a 3-year-old at Walt Disney World. After being pulled from the kiddie pool at the Grand Floridian, the young child from Chicago is revived by Rosenhaus (who is in town for a function at ESPN Club).

April 11, 2006: A 49-year-old woman became ill after riding Mission: Space at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. She was taken to a nearby hospital and died the next day.

November, 2007: Karen Price, 63, was working on an elevated rider-loading platform when she was struck by one of the roller coaster vehicles.

She died five days later.

After her death, Disney renovated the Primeval Whirl ride and installed sensors to prevent a similar accident occurring in the same area of the ride.

In 2008, federal investigators faulted Disney for five safety violations and fined the company $21,000 for the accident that caused Price's death.

Dec. 18, 2007: A 44-year-old man visiting Walt Disney World died after apparently suffering a heart attack on the Expedition Everest roller coaster in Animal Kingdom. No heart defibrillators were immediately available in the area.

July 5, 2009: A 21-year-old monorail driver was killed when his train crashed into another monorail because of a track change malfunction. This was the first fatal accident involving a monorail in the resort’s 38-year history.

Update: November 01, 2011

More than two years after the fatal crash of two Walt Disney World monorail trains, the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) has issued its final report tying the death of monorail pilot Austin Wuennenberg to employee error and a flawed monorail operating policy.

Monorail pink and monorail purple, which have since been repaired and reintroduced as monorail teal and monorail peach, were involved in a tragic crash in the early hours of July 5, 2009, at the close of the busy July 4 holiday. According to the NTSB report, the main factors that contributed to the crash were the long-standing Disney World practice of allowing monorail operators to back onto a switch track without a spotter (although the monorail manufacturer's instruction manual warns against the practice), the failure of the monorail shop panel operator to properly realign the switch beams before monorail pink was cleared to back onto a spur-beam as it went offline for the evening, and the remote location of the manager who gave the monorail operator clearance to back onto the spur-beam. The report indicates that the manager issued the clearance instructions while dining at a restaurant located off Disney property.

Aug. 6, 2009: A 47-year-old Disney performer was injured during Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial show at Disney World. He succumbed to his injuries and died a few days later.

Aug. 17, 2009: A stuntman at Disney’s Hollywood Studios died after suffering a head injury while practicing a tumbling roll during a rehearsal for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular show.

Oct. 31, 2009: A 4-year-old girl was injured at Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort when a golf cart she was riding in overturned.

March 14, 2010: A Walt Disney World employee broke his leg after he was struck by a guest driving a car at the Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom.

March 23, 2010: Eight people were injured, one seriously, because of a crash between a Disney bus and Waldorf-Astoria bus near Epcot.

April 1, 2010: A 9-year-old boy was hit and killed by a bus while riding his bike at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

UPDATE: JUNE 14, 2010:

A 9-year-old boy who was killed while riding his bicycle at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge in April was found to have caused the accident, according to investigative reports released this morning by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Chase Brubaker, of Redington Beach, died April 1 after he struck the left side of a passing Disney bus near the campground’s swimming pool.

He was thrown from the bike and pulled under the bus. The bus’s rear tires ran over the boy, killing him instantly, according to FHP.

Brubaker and a friend, an 11-year-old girl, were wearing helmets while riding on a sidewalk, north of a paved pathway that leads to a pool and tennis courts at the resort, Sgt. Kim Montes said. The two were on their way to the arcade and were by themselves without an adult.

Brubaker’s bicycle, a Mongoose “Outer Limit” dirt bike, was in an “unsafe condition,” according to the report. The bike’s front tire was underinflated and the rear tire had “no measurable air pressure,” the report states.

Investigators interviewed bus driver David Rich and two witnesses to the accident

In their report, they found Brubaker swerved into the path of the oncoming bus and was thrown from the bicycle.

Rich, 56, was not faulted for the accident and was not charged.

Disney said Rich has more than 30 years’ experience in its transportation department. It is not known how many of those years have been spent driving buses.

Apr 18, 2010: A car was trying to make a u-turn in front of Fort Wilderness and ran into the bus.  Reports suggest that the driver of the car will be ticketed. 30 passengers were on board the bus, but no one was injured.

Apr 28, 2010: A Woman was injured in a boating accidente at WDW near the Treehouse Villas. Barbara Wormald, 61, of Celebration and Skipton, England, was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center to receive treatment for a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and back pain, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Wormald and her husband, Michael, had rented a small boat at Downtown Disney and began to make their way through the Walt Disney World Resort waterways, the Sheriff’s Office said. At some point, the two found themselves in the path of a ferry.

Michael Wormald told a sheriff’s deputy that he turned to the right too late to avoid the ferry.

William Green, the captain of the ferry, told authorities he put the ferry in reverse when it crashed into the boat.

The Wormalds’ boat went under the ferry, and Barbara Wormald was wedged between the ferry and the small boat. Electrician killed after accident at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

July 09, 2010: Electrician killed after accident at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

An electrician working for a Disney subsidiary died after he was shocked Friday morning as he worked near an electrical transformer at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.

Steven Snyder, 50, of Davenport, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Celebration Hospital.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Osceola County sheriff’s detectives are investigating.

Snyder, a journeyman electrician employed by Buena Vista Construction Co., was working on a temporary outdoor platform when he was electrocuted shortly after 10 a.m., officials said.

Co-workers and onlookers rushed to his aid and tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

“He was an electrician for more than 30 years and the best one there was,” said his wife, Tammy. “He was always safe; he was never careless.”

Snyder enjoyed camping and traveling and recently installed an above-ground pool in their backyard.

When the couple married in 1999, they rented a van and drove from Florida to Las Vegas, stopping at every national park along the way, Tammy Snyder said.

Once there, they found wedding rings at a nearby pawnshop, headed to The Little White Chapel and said their vows at the drive-through window. Snyder drove, and his new bride was riding shotgun.

“He asked me if I wanted to get married in Vegas, and I said sure, so long as we didn’t get married by Elvis,” Snyder said. “We both said ‘I do,’ and that was it.”

Friday night, Tammy Snyder was still trying to come to terms with her husband’s death.

Disney officials said Snyder was working near the front entrance to the sports complex when he was injured.

“Today, we are grieving with his family, friends and co-workers and extend our deepest sympathies to them,” Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said. “We are reaching out to his family to offer our support during this difficult time.”

Bianca Prieto, Orlando Sentinel

July 17, 2010: Disney monorail pilot injured by electric shock

Walt Disney World monorails were out of service briefly Saturday evening after a monorail pilot received an electric shock while flipping a switch, authorities said.

The pilot was mildly shocked in the arm while switching on a beacon that identifies the beam the monorail is traveling on, a fire official and Disney said. He was taken to Florida Hospital Celebration Health by ambulance, where he was treated and released. His injury was said to be minor.

Park guests were removed from the area while the pilot was being treated on the platform. The monorails were down for 20 or 30 minutes.

A Reedy Creek Fire Department spokesman likened the incident to accidentally contacting a light socket with a finger. The voltage was low, he said.

“When he reached up it zapped him,” said Bo Jones, deputy fire chief.

In July 2009, monorail pilot Austin Wuennenberg, 21, was killed when one train backed up and crashed into another one. The National Transportation Safety Board said its investigation will last until at least this fall.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Disney for four safety violations and fined the company $35,200.

On July 9, an electrician was killed by a large jolt of electricity as he worked at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.

 Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel

August 20, 2010: Disney Bus, PT Cruiser crash near Hollywood Studios

A Disney bus with 26 passengers and a PT Cruiser were involved in a crash near Disney's Hollywood Studios this afternoon.

The Florida Highway Patrol said there were no injuries, even though initial reports said there were. An FHP spokeswoman said the bus driver was not at fault.

No other details were immediately available. This is a breaking news story. Check back later for more information.

March 11, 2011: Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

March 13, 2011:Disney's Animal Kingdom worker dies from injuries

A Disney worker injured Sunday while repairing the Primeval Whirl roller coaster died early today, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The worker, identified as 52-year-old Russell Sherry Roscoe of Webster, suffered head injuries Sunday while working on ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom and was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, according to the sheriff's office. He died there this morning.